Bill and Lisa Roe have had a top year with Trouble in Mind Records, the label they own and operate. This year they've released music from some of my favorite artists ; Mmoss, Ty Segall, The Resonars, Apache Dropout, Jacco Gardner, The Paperhead and heaps more. It seems that they've also had plenty of time to listen to killer music this year too as when I asked Bill for his favourites of the year I got the following tome back that needs to be read in it's entirety.
Says Bill : "OK, so here goes - in no particular order - I did top 15 new LPs & reissue LPs... and then the singles that caught my ear this year... not exclusively psych by any means, but our tastes are not exclusively psych, so... I guess that makes sense.
*Corum - "Never Use The Same Door Twice" (Psychic Sound)
-fucking weird-ass anomaly of a record that showed up at Perm one day & blew our collective doors off! Equal parts Throbbing Gristle & Mondo Cane!
*Ty Segall/ w/WhiteFence/ TSBand: "Twins" (Drag City), "Hair" (Drag City), Slaughterhouse (In The Red) - YES. ALL THREE. Ty was on a fucking ROLL this year. Dude works hard & it shows. Thumbs up.
*Lower Plenty "Hard Rubbish" (Easter Bilby/Special Award)
-more AUS-someness... a low key affair, but sneaky hooks that grab you when you aren't lookin'.
*Spacin' "Deep Thuds" (Richie)
-Birds of Maya side project that ISN'T Purling Hiss from bassist Jason Killinger. Killer hooks catchy riffs & a kind of all over the place record that somehow works as a whole.
*Cheap Time "Wallpaper Music" (In The Red)
-the best record yet from an under-rated band. No one talks about these dudes. WTF??
*Woollen Kits - s/t (RIP Society)
-a record so good that it made Lisa & I want to release records with them!
*Radar Eyes - s/t (Hozac)
-Chi-town peeps done good - I personally know AJ toiled & toiled over these mixes & his hard work paid off. GREAT, catchy album.
*Boomgates "Double Natural" (Bedroom Suck)
- Aussie jangle pop feat. Eddy Current singer Brendan - sounds like classic Flying Nun up in here!
*Limiñanas "Crystal Anis" (Hozac)
-should come as no surprise that any Limiñanas release would show up on my list. My favorite current French band! Darker than the first rec, but equally as satisfying.
*Fresh & Onlys "Long Slow Dance" (Mexican Summer)
-just when folks seemed to stop talking about the F&O's as much, these dudes go & drop their BEST record yet. FACT.
*Kraus - "Supreme Commander" (Moniker)
-this the music mutants play in their post-apocalyptic dance clubs. What a frickin' mind-bender. Another thrilling release from ex-Futurian, Kraus!
*Goat - "World Music" (Rocket Recordings)
-this one's prolly on a lot of people's lists. Is it REALLY that good? It's a question I ask myself every time I put it on & by song number three I'm always saying "FUCK this album's GOOD". So, yeah I guess it is.
*Cheater Slicks - "Reality Is A Grape" (Columbus Discount)
-like a fine wine - these dudes get better with age. Their best record since the last record they made (and that one was really, really great). Hope you can still get one!
*Obnox - "Rojo" (Permanent)
-PRex lockin' it down in 2012. This record plays like a fever-dream at 45rpm. HOLY FUCK.
*Thee Oh Sees - "Putrifiers II EP" (In The Red)
-yeah, yeah I know ANOTHER Oh Sees record. But you know what? It's really frickin' good, so eat it.
*Brian Eno - "Lux" (Warp)
-Did Brian Eno deserve to be making a record this good so late into his career? I mean, he's been thru multiple U2 & Coldplay recording sessions, so you'd think that dreck would begin to wear off, but good-goddamn. He did it. Plus he's Brian fucking Eno so he can do whatever he wants to do, I guess.
*Archaia - "s/t" (Papaaver)
-I had never heard of this one until it came into the shop & the cover makes it look like a black metal album, so when we spun it the first time I was SHOCKED to hear the music comin' out. Kinda psych, kind not, weird outsider music for outsiders. I can't even begin to describe it. Just look it up. WOW.
*Public Nuisance - "Gotta Survive" (Third Man)
-I have been waiting with bated breath for this one to get reissued! GREAT, great psych-pop with mod-moves & freakbeat shivvers.
*Creme Soda - "Tricky Zingers" (???)
-A killer NUTTER of a record - Zappa/Fugs/private-press post-garage beardo rock! Only from Wisonsin! GREAT!
*Null + Void - "Possibilities (Discoverable Thoughts)" (Bunkerpop)
- Another one I was unfamiliar with when it was reissued. Again - the cover art belies another kind of record within, but this one sounds like the kind of futuristic cocaine rock Bowie & Roxy were peddling, but filtered through an oddball obsessed with Nurse With Wound or something. Comes with the biggest poster I have even seen. ESSENTIAL.
*Sea-Ders - "s/t" (Lion)
-only eight tunes, but WOW. Lebanese Beatles is the best way to describe them. Or maybe The Kinks. EIther way - CATCHY tunes & punchy production makes this one a winner!
*F.J. McMahon "Spirit Of The Golden Juice" (Circadian Press)
-downer private press folkie, reissued! Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, etc, but with a hipper sort of self-awareness. GREAT tunes with minimal production.
*Rockin' Horse - Yes It Is (Sing Sing)
-a record that is slowly inching its way up to being one of my favorites of all time. Pub rockin' at it's finest & the sharpest hooks this side of Badfinger. Straight up.
*Tronics - 'Love Backed By Force' LP & 'Shark Fucks' 7" (WYR?)
-WYR? really batted 1000 by reissuing these two modern classics! Heck we didn't even realize they were modern classics until they got reissued. Great frickin' work.
*Pin Group - "Ambivalence" (Flying Nun)
-the dark horses of the Flying Nun catalog & ground zero for NZ art rock. STUNNING.
*Clean "Oddities" (540 Records)
-these guys probably didn't even realize they were redefining what underground rock was gonna sound like when they were making these records, did they? Jerks.
*Feedtime - "Aberrant" boxed set (Sub Pop)
-Ugly. Brutal. Essential. Australian... plus it's all in one place, so you don't have to worry about getting anything else.
*v/a - The Southern Psychedelic Moment 1981-86 (Flying Nun)
-MORE NZ... yeah I know. this stuff gave me a real boner this year. So sue me. Cherry-picked tunes from the Fling Nun catalog from Bruce Russell himself. Record one is especially brilliant.
*Lee Hazlewood "LHI Years: Nudes & Backsides" (Light In The Attic)
-The great start to a glorious Hazlewood reissue campaign
*Wicked Lady "Axeman Cometh" & "Psychotic Overkill" (Guerssen)
-Pre-Dark, hard rock awesomeness. "Axeman" especially is frickin' brutal riffage...
*Bill Fay - Bill Fay (4 Men With Beards)
-WHY HAS THIS NEVER BEEN REISSUED ON VINYL BEFORE? FUCK ME THIS IS SO GREAT!
*Diat - Pick A Line (Iron Lung)
-great 2-sider from Aussie ex-pats living in Berlin, which makes sense, cuz it kinda sounds like Total Control if they were German. Great thing to tide you over until the next Total Control release.
*Total Control - Scenes From A Marriage (Sub Pop)
-OH WAIT. Here it is - the next Total Control release. Brilliant & unexpected twist from these guys. There's acoustic guitar!
*Unity Floors - 'Women's Golf' EP
-killer debut from these Aussies - kinda reminds me of classic Wedding Present. Paced, measured & extremely catchy.
*Jacco Gardner "Clear The Air" b/w "House On The Moon" (Action Weekend)
-an amazing from this Dutch wunderkind. SOLD THE FUCK OUT of it's first pressing before it was even released. Amazing psych-pop with whiffs of Zombies, Left Banke & Billy Nicholls, but sounds current too.
*Lures "New Boy" (Salvaged)
-"British" DIY pop that plucks liberally from the Messthetics playbook & nails it.
*Dan Melchior - "Red Nylon Valance" (SDZ)
-Danny boy has never sounded more like Syd & he is absolutely RULING it on this single. A-side is especially amazing.
*King Tuff "Wild Desire" b/w "Hole In My Head" (Suicide Squeeze)
-Loved his first LP & the second one is a higher-fi-er, grower, but this in-betweener single has the best two songs he's written. Kudos to Suicide Squeeze for snagging this one. Damn.
*White Fence "Green Balloon" b/w "Peephole Blues" / "The Wind & The Sun" (Sexbeat/CMR TYZ)
-OK - full disclosure. MASSIVE White Fence fan. SO this single is nothing new for those paying attention, but has three tunes of warbly, psych garage greatness that Tim Presley is the best at right now.
*Koudede - Tassakkne Tara b/w Golf (Sublime Frequencies)
-everything amazing about West Nigerian guitar rock condensed into two ABSOLUTELY KILLER TUNES. This single makes me really wanna dance & keep in mind this was made this year & not much has made me REALLY wanna dance that was made anywhere near this year. Hopefully you got one of these. Koudede is now deceased, courtesy of an auto accident. So that sucks.
*Terrible Truths - Patterns EP (Small Town Living)
-Skittery & jittery post punk from these Aussie dames that was released in a criminally low number. No decent record should be released in a pressing lower than 500. Fuckin' A. LP soon I hope?
*Ruined Fortune - Bulls Eye (RIP Society)
-So Circle Pit is done I guess, but who cares - this sounds so much like the best songs on the Circle Pit LP that it doesn't matter.
So there we have it folks. There may not be too much happening on the Active Listener over the next month or two as I appear to have about a hundred killer records to hunt down.